Aaron Terrazas/The Hoya Union organizers rallied outside the Georgetown Park Mall on Thursday night to bargain for increased rights for parking attendants at Colonial Parking.

Rain did not stop parking attendant workers and Georgetown Solidarity Committee members from protesting against Colonial Parking last night on Wisconsin Avenue. In a half-block long picket line, workers and union organizers from Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 27 shouted slogans against low wages among a group of police officers and curious bystanders. Organized by the HRE union, the protest is part of a long-term strategy to unionize all of the city’s parking employees. Currently, half the city’s workers are unionized, the rest are working to become recognized and negotiate with parking lot owners for better working conditions and wages.

Colonial Parking declined Friday to comment on the protest.

The protest blocked the entrance of Colonial Parking, but the garage continued to operate with nervous police moving angry protestors out of the way.

Many of the protestors were not parking attendant workers. Several were hotel workers showing support for the unions activities. Six Georgetown students joined other protestors from George Washington University.

According to Jane Li (SFS ’06), the union contacted GSC to participate in the protest.

The organizers criticized Colonial for not recognizing the union and “exploiting” the workers.

“Colonial non-unionized workers have been victimized with exorbitant health insurance costs and low wages,” shouted Baffa Bernga, a local attendant, “Five cars pay for one attendant’s salary for a night. We want the workers’ union and dignity to be recognized by Colonial.”

Bernga went on to criticize the conditions, “They make $7 an hour with no air conditioning. It is almost third world. There are no bathrooms, so people have to urinate in bottles.”

Union spokeswoman Ann Swimburn also highlighted the crushing health insurance costs and the severe burden it places on workers’ families.

“The health insurance costs are taking up a massive amount of their income. Some need to work three jobs in order to maintain a basic standard of living.”

Swimburn did not expect that the protest would cause a change in Colonial’s policy.

“We are not in negotiations. We want to let the public know about the enormous costs that workers have to bear.”

Swimburn was also more than confident that Colonial could afford it.

“This garage pulls in hundreds an hour,” she said. “It is a cash cow, but yet the workers are still disrespected and are victimized everyday.”

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